The Toy Thief by D.W. Gillespie
Thank you very much Anne, for inviting me to be a stop on the #RandomThingsTours blog tour for this absolutely delectable and creepy book!
I LOVE when books that I might not have otherwise ended up reading end up on my to-read pile in very serendipitous ways. Recently, I’ve started reading the odd horror book - but they need to be horror lite, as I still want to be able to sleep at night. When this blog tour came up, I was instantly intrigued; the book sounded like it had great characters, and a thorough plot, but also, a complete and total horror villain at the center of it. I was NOT disappointed.
Let’s start with the important part - the synopsis:
Jack didn’t know what to call the nameless, skeletal creature that slunk into her house in the dead of night, stealing the very things she loved the most. So she named him The Toy Thief…
There’s something in Jack’s past that she doesn’t want to face, an evil presence that forever changed the trajectory of her family. It all began when The Toy Thief appeared, a being drawn by goodness and innocence, eager to feed on everything Jack holds dear. What began as a mystery spirals out of control when her brother, Andy, is taken away in the night, and Jack must venture into the dark place where the toys go to get him back. But even if she finds him, will he ever be the same?
Within the first few chapters this completely horrifying, skeletal creature makes it’s first appearance, and that’s when I realized its important to read horror books with all the lights in the house ON.
I LOVE what D.W. Gillespie did with this story - he took Jack as an adult, reflecting back on her childhood as she grows up living with her teenage brother and her single-parent father, and threw in the most disturbing version of a childhood monster imaginable. For me, a horror book that also has complex character development is probably the perfect combination to hold my attention - I want to be scared, but I also want to feel like the characters could be real. Jack felt very, very real to me. I loved her as the brave, scrappy little kid, and I loved her as the take no shit adult. Because I could relate to her, it felt a lot more real when this fully formed, wonderfully abstract monster comes into the story. And a monster that is looking to prey on the innocence and light of children? Come on, it cannot get more unnerving than that.
The author has incredible talent for creating a tense, atmospheric world for his characters, and I was on the edge of my seat for every page of this book. It was near impossible to set down, and even harder to fall asleep once I did. This worked for me largely because it feeds heavily on the psychological suspense of the horror genre, rather than the slasher violence and gore. If you are a reader who loves a good sense of growing dread from start to finish, then be SURE to get this on your spooky October must read list! You will not be disappointed.
Happy Friday friends!